As part of the Calgary 2012 program, I decided to build something here in Calgary that would involve a number of Lego builders. Normally, the mosaics are a solo effort, so I decided to stretch outside my comfort zone. Enlisting the help of some local friends/builders/amazing people, we set out to replicate the Calgary Tower in bricks. After much planning (assisted by Lego Digital Designer and Minecraft), we had a plan, and met at the base of the Tower to build. It took an entire day, as well as a couple of hours on the following day, but we managed to build a pretty cool version of the Tower. Adam Murtha, Hayley Erza, and Trevor Van Aalst were amazing, and the best team I’ve worked with yet!
Here’s a time lapse video of the build
I’m no master of sculpture by any means, but I think it turned out pretty well. I like to think that I learn from every project, and this one taught me plenty. Next time we decide to build the tower, I have even more ideas. One of the original ideas was to have some robotic elements, moving parts, etc. We’re still looking at adding a rotating pod, it’s just a matter of finding the time to get the work done at this point.
Occasionally, I stray away from the mosaics and work on things that have a 3rd dimension to them. My second love Lego-wise is modular city buildings, in the style of the Cafe Corner, Green Grocer, etc. I really like the detail that is possible within a small space, and the modular nature makes for a nice display of a street etc.
One of my other loves is surfing and surf culture. Just last year I started learning to surf, and while I’m still quite terrible at it, I really enjoy it. One night last year I had a dream about a building on the beach, with a surf shop on one side, and a coffee shop on the other. Above those were some small apartments. when I woke up, and realized this building didn’t actually exist, I set out to create it. And a while later, it did.
The trickiest things in this building for me were the angled “wings”. I’m still learning the “vocabulary” of this style of building, so there was some building and rebuilding of things, which I suspect is how one learns to do this. The roof was particularly tricky and fragile. I’m guess some of my City building friends could immediately find ways to make it less so, but it is what it is.
This piece just recently came home from the Calgary Lego Store, where it was in the display window for a month. I’ve built a few other modulars, but this one is my favorite by far. I have an idea brewing that involves surfing, lego, and rocket ships, but until it becomes a reality, I’ll keep mum about it.
I love microscale LEGO builds. Maybe it’s the board game-like appearance, or maybe it’s the polar opposite-ness from mosaic building, but i’m hooked. I’m still my first year learning the ins and outs, and i’m sure as time passes i’ll get better at details and layouts, but here are some pics of what i’ve built thus far.
A wide shot of the city thus far. You can see that along the north edge, there is only a single lane of road. I’ll likely go back and correct that, to make it truly modular.
The Parking Garage was one of the first buildings I built. Those trans-clear cheese sure come in handy for windshields. I suspect I spent too much time worrying about leaving spaces on each level for the cars to move from level to level, but so be it.
About four days into this project, I found a tall grey building sitting in the city, added by either helpful elves, or my erstwhile assistant, Monkeyboy Jr. I liked it, so I modified it slightly, to add more windows, and incorporated it into the city. The monkey idea was “borrowed” with love from Shannonia (see below for links).
Ever really small person needs to aspire to great things, so I added this university. Actually, it could also be the city hall. I experimented with smaller windows, and when I got to the top, found a couple of rounded brown pieces which gave it some real character.
This was simply a chance to use a bunch of trans-clear 1x2s I had picked up at the local Pick-a-Brick Wall. Very Louvrey. I decided to add some trans-green to the corners to give it a different look than the regular grass.
A wider shot of the town square. Originally, I had planned on having an Aquarius-type character as the statue. But then I liked the look of the golden plate, and it begged to have a fire in it. At that point, I thought, “Giant Robot with Guns”, like you do.
If you’re interested in checking out more microscale stuff, Microbricks is a great website devoted to it. Also, TWINLUG has developed a standard which I mostly try to stick to, as it makes things a little easier to deal with. Also, one cannot write a post about microscale without a nod to Shannonia, by Shannon Young. It’s simply excellent.
Thanks to the good folks in SALUG, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the Buzz Lightyear build for the opening of Canada’s first LEGO store, at Chinook Centre in Calgary. It was a great time, and I had a blast helping the public build bricks to be added to the statue.
The build lasted an entire weekend, and on Sunday, I was lucky enough to be asked by LEGO Master Builder Dan Steininger to actually help build Buzz’s shoulders. Wow, what a thrill! Up the ladder I went, and with the help of Jennifer Davidson Wagner (thebrickchick), we completed the remaining pieces of Buzz.
It was awesome getting to help out, and meeting lots of folks from The Lego Group, as well as the other volunteers. I learned a lot from Dan, and had a chance to sit a chat with him for a bit. It was also great to meet Jennifer, and expand my LEGO world a bit further. Man, what a year it’s been!
I’m not sure what exactly set me off on this idea, but I suspect it was the City Corner set, which includes a small pizza place. I had the idea to create a commercial kitchen in Lego. I know, you’re thinking, “but Dave, this is not a mosaic”. Indeed, I say…Indeed.
So I put some thought into the sort of things I’d want to have in the kitchen, and made a couple of orders on Bricklink. Within a week or so, I had the kitchen staff, and a giant lot of tiles. I decided that this MOC should have a lot of tile and flat surfaces, as it is a kitchen. Once I started, I began to see opportunities, and ideas began formulating. It’s taking a bit longer than I thought, but I want to get it right. Also, the project has a bit of creep to it, as I’ve now added a small cafe area to the front. My faithful assistant Finny has been a great help, coming up with new ideas and adding tiles pretty much everywhere, regardless of color scheme!
I’m planning on bringing it to BrickCon in October.
A wideshot of the Kitchen and Cafe. What gastronomical treasures await the diners? Who can say?
A shot of the Cafe section, located out near the street.
The Pastry Chef prepares his strawberry shortcake.
The Angry Head Chef expects perfection from his staff!